It Was Matt Cassel or Bust for Denver Broncos; Now Jay Cutler Has to Be QB

HankAnalyst IMarch 13, 2009

I will begin this article by confessing to my own mistake. A week ago, I wrote an article promising I would not write any more on the subject of Jay Cutler and his current situation, but recent developments have forced me to take back that promise.

The Jay Cutler situation, as I have called it, is still alive , and the two sides are reportedly no closer to terms after an icy conference call.

Jay Cutler, however, is still a Denver Bronco.

This is a story that has been told many times over, speculated on by "experts" at every major sports network, and torn apart by Broncos fans.

The deal, that would have landed Matt Cassel in Denver, truly was the ONLY deal the Broncos could have made for Cutler.

Cutler, despite his questionable leadership and controversial personality, had a fantastic season for the Broncos. Considering the lack of defensive help he received, he was remarkable.

Among the four worst defenses in the NFL in 2008 (Denver, Seattle, Kansas City, and Detroit) Denver's 8-8 record was far and away the best.

While Cutler overcame his defensive woes, the quarterbacks in charge of the other three teams tallied six wins combined.

One would think Josh McDaniels would be eager to see what Cutler could do with a defense that did not consistently give up 20 points in the first half.

The new Denver defense, led by Brian Dawkins, will be better. So should't Cutler get a shot working with a decent defense backing him up?

In any case, McDaniels wanted Matt Cassel in Denver, and that would not have been a tragedy. Cassel comes from USC, had an "internship" of sorts under all-pro Tom Brady, and then flourished in his role after being called upon.

Cassel was not a one-season wonder. I do believe, however, that he needs a strong supporting cast around him. Dwayne Bowe does not count as a "strong supporting cast." But Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and Ryan Clady do.

McDaniels was probably right to believe that Cassel would flourish in Denver in his familiar offensive scheme.

But McDaniels fell flat on his face when it came to working out a deal. If McDaniels did contact the Patriots about Cassel, it was probably already too late. Worse still, he let it leak to the media.

This deal was truly "Cassel or bust" in two ways.

First, in this kind of trade, and especially with Jay Cutler, if the media is going to hear about it, it better happen. It didn't, Cutler heard about it, and all hell broke loose (that is, of course, what happened).

Second, Cassel was the only quarterback that the Broncos could potentially deal for who would be somewhat acceptable in the eyes of the fans.

Now, as the prospects of a trade still going through are getting more and more realistic, the question remains, who will play quarterback?

Speculation has Cutler being traded to the Lions, Bears, Vikings, or Buccaneers. None of these teams has any kind of quarterback talent to offer for Cutler.

Detroit could offer Matt Stafford (the first pick in the draft), but this team is not rebuilding. Veteran free agents were recently signed to help the team win now.

This is not the time for a rookie or a renovation project at quarterback. This is not the time for McDaniels to try to turn Chris Simms back into a starter, or for Alex Smith to try his hand at being a productive NFL player.

This is the time for McDaniels to work with Jay Cutler, to minimize the mistake throws,and help him better utilize his valuable arm strength.

The Broncos are built to win now with Cutler. The switch to Cassel would most likely have been a "lateral" one, not really an upgrade but not a vast decline in talent either. He is unique in this way.

Unless the Broncos can work a magical, Madden-esque deal for Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, there is not going to be a player brought in who is better than Cutler.

Cutler is not worth the first pick in this year's draft, considering the talent. Last year, with the likes of Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, it might have been. But not this year.

The Broncos are and will be a pass-first offense. They need a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback to lead the offense. This is not a team that can get by with a competent game manager.

The Broncos do not need Jay Cutler (Cassel would have been adequate), but his attitude must improve. Although his services are extremely important to the team, and he would be hard to replace, this all requires his cooperation—something the team does not have. 

There are now reports that Cutler contacted a real estate agent to put his $2 million dollar home in Denver up for sale, and nobody puts their house up for sale in this economy just to move down the street.

The perspective quarterback trade was Cassel or bust; now Cassel is off the market. There are no more deals the Broncos could make that would be acceptable in the eyes of their fans. I do not believe Cutler is going to be traded.

Jay Cutler has to be the starting quarterback.

So get off your high horse, be respectful, and stop ruining your own reputation, Jay! This team could be great if you just stop your whining and your tantrums, and show up at OTA's on Monday! Please.


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